Jens Lehmann says it would be ‘fantastic’ if fellow Arsenal Invincibles Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp returned as part of Daniel Ek’s £1.8bn takeover bid… but warns a ‘good structure’ will be needed for trio to fit in
Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp’s involvement in Daniel Ek’s audacious £1.8billion takeover bid of Arsenal has been labelled as ‘fantastic’ by club legend Jens Lehmann.
Ek, 38, is the owner of Spotify and openly made his intentions to buy his boyhood club clear on Friday during mass protests against the much-maligned Stan Kroenke.
The businessman is adamant he has the necessary funds for the proposal – and is united with the three Arsenal greats in a move which has been met with a positive response from Lehmann.
Jens Lehmann says the involvement of three Arsenal legends in a takeover bid is ‘fantastic’
Dennis Bergkamp (L), Thierry Henry (C) and Patrick Vieira (R) are part of Daniel Ek’s consortium
‘It would be fantastic to have my former team-mates working for Arsenal again because they’re all great guys,’ Lehmann told Sky Sports News.
‘But I don’t know if the Kroenke family actually wants to sell Arsenal. From my encounters with Josh Kroenke [Arsenal director], he’s a very nice guy and he was very interested to lead Arsenal to a brighter future.’
Outlining his desire to take over from Kroenke at the Emirates, Ek wrote on Twitter: ‘As a kid growing up I’ve cheered for Arsenal as long as I can remember.
Spotify owner Ek declared his intention to buy Arsenal from the much-maligned Stan Kroenke
‘If KSE [Kroenke Sports & Entertainment] would like to sell I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring.’
Ek has been described as being ‘serious’ over his desire to buy the club, as reported by Sportsmail, and any suggestions his post was for publicity are wide of the mark.
With all-time record scorer Henry on board alongside fellow Invincibles Bergkamp and Vieira in the consortium, the pressure has ramped up on Kroenke to step away.
But despite the promising nature of the group, Lehmann has admitted he holds concerns over how the trio would be able to operate.
Kroenke’s running of the club, and the Super League fiasco, has ramped up calls for him to quit
He added: ‘My experience of football, now I’m on the board at Hertha Berlin, is people first need to know the right questions and then implement a structure where all the guys – Thierry, Dennis and Patrick – can work.
‘Would you see them working on the pitch all together? I don’t really understand their jobs because there needs to be a good structure from the top to the bottom.
‘There’s Edu [Arsenal’s technical director], a former team-mate, I think he’s doing a good job there. So if on top comes Thierry as a coach or manager probably, Patrick the same… Dennis was an assistant coach at Ajax.
‘I think their expertise is probably not becoming a sporting director or CEO.’
Ek co-founded Spotify in 2006 and is worth an estimated £3.4bn. Arsenal are valued at around £2bn, meanwhile, even before Kroenke imposes his own hefty price tag.
Furious Arsenal supporters protested against Kroenke’s ownership at the Emirates last week
But while there are expected to be no problems for Ek to stump up extra money for the takeover, the much-maligned Kroenke on Tuesday reaffirmed his stance that he is not willing to sell the club.
In an official statement, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment said: ‘In recent days we have noted media speculation regarding a potential takeover bid for Arsenal Football Club.
‘We remain 100% committed to Arsenal *and are not selling* any stake in the Club. We have not received any offer and we will not entertain any offer.
‘Our ambition for Arsenal remains to compete to win the biggest trophies in the game and our focus remains on improving our competitiveness on the pitch to achieve this.
‘Stan Kroenke and Josh Kroenke.’